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Searching for GIS Data
Finding the appropriate GIS data can seem like a daunting task. This guide has helpful links to freely available datasets around the web.
The links on this page are sorted by general region. If you can't find the GIS data for the particular area you need linked here, try searching for "[place name] GIS" on the open web.
Remember to download data you are interested in- websites can disappear!
Other Maine State & Regional GIS Data Sources
International GIS Data Sources
From the Center for Geographic Analysis at Harvard University.
Antarctic Digital Database
Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). Contains geographic information layers including coastline, ice-shelf grounding line, rock outcrop, contours, elevation point data such as survey points and spot heights, and human-presence features such as Research Station locations.
From Natural Resources Canada. Contains geospatial data and topographic map resources.
Canada Open Maps
Contains geospatial data from the Government of Canada.
Center for International Earth Science Information Network
Columbia University. CIESIN specializes in on-line data and information management, spatial data integration and training, and interdisciplinary research related to human interactions in the environment.
From Harvard University, with Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Social Explorer, and China Data Center.
Database of Global Administrative Areas
GADM. This database contains data for country administrative areas, downloadable in various formats including shapefiles. For academic, not commercial, use.
Contains country level data for any country in the world: administrative boundaries, roads, railroads, altitude, land cover, population density.
European Environment Agency Data & Maps
From the European Union. Data and maps related to environmental policy.
European Union Open Data Portal
Provides economic, social, science, and education data for the European Union.
United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization. Contains interactive maps, GIS datasets, satellite imagery, and related applications.
NASA Earth Observations
Contains data about Earth’s ocean, atmosphere, and land surfaces.
NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center. Contains data on human interactions in the environment.
World Gapminder Data
World Gapminder Foundation. Looks at social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels. Includes downloadable data sources.
US Federal GIS Data Sources
Bureau of Land Management. Contains bureau-wide geospatial data from project, state and national levels.
CDC GIS Data
Center for Disease Control. Contains public health data along with related GIS resources, including tutorials.
A federal database that contains all of the United States open data.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool. Contains geospatial analysis tools for environmental and demographic indexes.
EPA Geospatial Data
From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Contains data from facilities subject to environmental regulation.
National CORS Network
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) data can be used to improve the precision of their positions
The National Map
U.S. Geological Survey. Contains elevation, hydrogaphy, transportation, structures, boundaries, orthoimagery, land cover, and geographic name data.
NOAA Data & Products
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Contains links to data sources in various topics, including hazards and Marine Geology and Geophysics.
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Contains geophysical, oceanic, atmospheric, & coastal data.
NOAA Office of Coast Survey GIS
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Contains GIS-friends nautical charts.
U.S. National Park Service. Contains data for national parks.
U.S. Board on Geographic Names
U.S. Geological Survey. Contains the authoritative US list of domestic names, foreign names, Antarctic names, and undersea feature names.
U.S. Census TIGER
U.S. Census. Contains links to several TIGER products, including TIGER/Line Shapefiles, which is designed for use with GIS. Includes boundaries, roads, address information, water features, and more
USDA Geospatial Data Gateway
U.S. Department of Agriculture. Contains data on environmental and natural resources.
USDA Web Soil Survey
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
USGS CMGP Interactive Maps
U.S. Geological Survey Coastal & Marine Geology Program. Contains interactive maps for regional coastline & geological data.
USGS CMGP usSEABED
U.S. Geological Survey Coastal & Marine Geology Program. Contains data on sediment and rock distributions in the waters off the United States
U.S. Geological Survey. Contains satellite images, aerial photographs, and more.
USGS Eros Center
U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Sciences Center. Contains Aerial Photography, Digitized Maps, Elevation Products, Fire Science, Land Cover, Satellite Imagery, Topobathymetric Elevation Products, & Topographic Change data.
USGS GIS Data
From the US Geological Survey. Includes data from The National Map, Earth Explorer, GloVIS, LandsatLook, and much more. Filter results by topic, location, or year.
U.S. Geological Survey Hydrological SHuttle Elevation Derivatives at multiple Scales. Contains geo-referenced hydrographic data sets (vector and raster) at various scales, including river networks, watershed boundaries, drainage directions, and flow accumulations.
USGS Protected Areas Data Portal
U.S. Geological Survey National Gap Analysis Project (GAP). Official inventory of protected open space in the U.S.
Other GIS Data Sources
Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal
The resources in the portal are selected and curated by librarians and geospatial specialists at twelve research institutions in the Big Ten Academic Alliance. The resources include GIS datasets, web services, and digitized historical maps.
From the Conservation Biology Institute (CBI). Contains datasets, maps, and galleries from environmental studies.
National Historical Geographic Information System
Contains population, housing, agricultural, and economic data, along with GIS-compatible boundary files, for geographic units in the United States from 1790 to the present.
National Snow & Ice Data Center
Contains scientific data related to the cryosphere.
From the North American Cartographic Information Society. Contains vector and raster map data.
OpenStreetMap is a community built open source global map. Data can be extracted down to street level.
Princeton Map Search
Princeton University. Searchable database of maps and and downloadable data. Refine by place and theme.
U.S. Geological Survey. An open-access platform for data management and discovery. Interact with geospatial information records using ArcGIS and other software.
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